Reminiscing of a visit to the Archeology Museum, in Lisbon, Portugal.
It started this morning, the thread. And over short posts, someone told a story. Of a Greek man, who lived in antiquity, by the Mediterranean side; in a city whose name is still preserved, and today is written "Marseille".
This series of posts was interesting, I caught one flying by the Local feed, about halfway down his sequence, liked it and went to the top to find the rest.
Enjoying his post, I remembered similar thoughts, of History, and how things worked, how small bits and pieces came to me as I visited an exposition, at the Archeological Museum, in Lisbon.
Stopping at each display, I would read and examine the artifacts. All of them had came from the same region, countryside around today's city of Loulé, in the Algarve, Southern Portugal.
The region has been inhabited for thousands of years, and the exhibit had pieces from pre-historic, Phoenician, Roman, Moorish and more modern times.
The Algarve is the most Southern part of Portugal, the warmest and sunniest. Trees, fruit, grapes grow well there. Fish in the seas are plenty. It was good land for settlements.
And they came, different peoples over different eras. Phoenicians, traders at heart, created outposts to explore the land and it's products, while also supporting passing seafarers going to farther places. Some of their mariners came from the homeland in modern day Middle East, traversed the whole Mediterranean, and went past the Columns of Hercules, now Gibraltar, into the open Atlantic.
Wild ocean waters, for people with small ships, but brave they were; and the profits from trading moved them. From home, via this route, into the Bay of Biscay, always a dangerous passage, and on to Cornwall for the Tin metal so demanded by the Bronze Age technology. Tin was plentiful there, and provided profitable mining for thousands of years. Traders came from far an apart to purchase the ore and bring it home for resale.
In the Algarve, Phoenicians, Romans set up colonies. The Romans saw the abundance of fish and built an industry of processing then into a preserve, the "Garum" fish sauce which was popular in their cuisine. Garum produced in the region was high quality, and had a demand from various regions of the Empire, including the Capital, Rome itself.
Garum was created by cutting up the fish and placing them into stone vaults cut into the local bedrock. Salt was added as a condiment but primarily as a preservative agent. The salty fish mix was left on the stone vats to cure for some time, months possibly. And once finished, it provided a concentrated sauce with protein and a flavour judged exquisite by the people.
Quality brings demand, and demand attracts traders; there's money to be made and livelihoods could focus on supplying it.
The Museum showed photos of the larger artifacts, like these stone vaults, carved into natural rock. They showed site maps with pointers of what each part was intended to do. Once you have a product, and an eager market, things will work to get it supplied.
How do we carry this out? The Museum showed many Amphorae, large earthenware/ceramic vessels which were built to store and carry various products around, locally, regionally and along longer routes to Rome and Beyond.
During the Roman era, there were thriving colonies not only in Lusitania, today's Portugal, but also in the Southern region of today's Spain now called Andalucia, which came from the Moorish era name - Al Andalus.
Roman estates in the Andalucia region, then called Baetica, produced fine Olive Oil, another staple of the Mediterranean diet. They sold and exported this widely, quality bringing in demand and profits to traders, farmers and landholders. Baetica was 'next door' to the Algarvians, so trade flowed easily between them.
As documented by the various amphorae, either whole or in fragments, on display at this Museum exhibit. The notes pointed out how many Baetican amphorae had been found in the Algarve, testimony of vigorous trade. Algarvians had income and could purchase finer goods - their own region produces olive oil and wines to this day, but the Museum had fragments which had been manufactured in Baetica, and even in mainland Italy, Rome's homelands.
Algarvian amphorae fragments had cruder handles and rougher surface texture. The Baetican ones were finer and prettier ceramics. Past contents of these vessels could still be determined by analysis of residues in some of them.
I should point out that I am not a Historian, but a curious man, fascinated by glimpsing the past and being able to understand a bit of how they lived, by seeing such a nice exposition and the numerous Historical buildings, sites and ancient settlements commonly found in Europe. So, my writing probably has factual errors, which I apologize for, the intent being to jot down those and share with others who might find them intriguing, hopefully.
The collection on display was all dug on sites around the modern city of Loulé. Besides these wonderful Roman and pre-Roman era artifacts, they also had later, Moorish period ones, with beautiful ceramics and metal work.
After visiting Europe for the first time a few years ago, I was so impressed and pleased by all these cultural artifacts and History around everywhere that traveling here in my home region, in North America pales in comparison.
I hope you enjoyed this narrative, and welcome your comments and follow ups. Thank you.
Additional info and links, notes:
- Archeological Museum, Lisbon, Portugal is at : https://www.lisbon.net/archaeology-museum and wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Archaeology_Museum,_Portugal
- a beautiful ancient map of Iberia : https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/Atlas_Van_der_Hagen-KW1049B12_017-PORTUGALLIAE_et_ALGARBIAE_REGNA.jpeg
- the city of Loulé region on Bing maps : https://binged.it/2RqlQz2
- Amphorae page at Wiki with many examples : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphora
- Lusitania, Roman period Iberia : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lusitania
- Roman Empire map, 3rd Century : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Spain#/media/File:Prima_tetrarchia_Diocletianus.PNG
- Baetica information : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispania_Baetica
- Al Andalus : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Andalus
- And finally, Wikipedia's full series on History of Portugal : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Portugal
With my thanks for the inspiration for this! :smile:
@design_RG Hey, you really got the hang of this! I am very very happy to have inspired such a pleasant and informative read :) also, thanks for the credit.
@anarchiv You are very welcome -- and I feel it's me who should be thankful.
I managed to pry myself of notifications and new posts, etc, jumped into a plain text editor and just worked thru it.
I like the result! And it's a new experience for me, the chunking up in manageable pieces. I am hoping to grab people glancing at any one of them and being curious. 😛 Like it happened to me!
Soon will probably make it into a blog post, it's real content and can get me started on blogging.
Long due, leave the stories written down, let others experience them.
@design_RG come to think of it, I should probably do the same with some of my threads, and use that opportunity to refine them and work out some kinks.
@anarchiv I think that's an excellent idea. Makes the time we spend on creating content more worthwhile - if you preserve and place it somewhere else, one link away, rather than deep into thousands of posts which an active user will accumulate here, easily.
Until we have proper bookmarks in Mastodon, it's tough to keep tabs on things. I am lucky that my home instance here is very stable and has a wonderful Full text Search - which digs my own posts back for reference and to help others when needed.
@anarchiv Also -- we gain the chance to edit and add things, links, hash tags (which I completely forgot for this series of posts, sadly).
I posted as quickly as I could, jumping from Editor to browser and pushing Toot with the next post already copied into the Clipboard for pasting.
Was afraid of someone reacting and responding and breaking the flow of the text, happily it did not happen.
Don't mind at all comments after the full text is in, but it's best to keep it flowing without distractions, until complete.
@design_RG very very true.
@design_RG, this was great to read. Thanks so much for taking the time out! :)
(I do not, however, know whether or not to thank you for the Wikiwalk you're going to send me on!)
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